CHARLOTTE, US: The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced plans to launch the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa, at the weekend.
The BAL will be built on the foundation of current club competitions FIBA is organizing in Africa. Scheduled to begin play in January 2020, the BAL would mark the NBA's first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.
The NBA also announced its plan to introduce a re-imagined direct-to-consumer offering of NBA games for fans in Africa by the start of the 2019-20 NBA season. The offering would include new packages, features and localized content, with additional details to be announced at a later date.
The NBA and FIBA plan to conduct qualification tournaments later this year to identify the 12 teams that would represent several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, with no more than two teams from the same country able to qualify.
The NBA and FIBA also plan to dedicate financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa's basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment.
Additional details about the BAL will be announced at a later date.